Firm Profile > Clarke Willmott LLP > Bristol , South West

Clarke Willmott LLP
South West

Commercial litigation: Bristol Tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP's team covers commercial litigation in multiple areas, such as agriculture, banking, defamation, financial services and intellectual property. The firm also handles contentious issues involving niche areas, such as classic cars and commercial agents regulations; practice head Alex Jakubowski is a noted expert in the latter area. It is also a first port of call among clients in the energy and natural resources sector.

Debt recovery Tier 1

The team at Clarke Willmott LLP provides a comprehensive service to clients, with work covering general debt recovery advice, high-volume pre-legal debt collection and insolvency action, among other matters. It regularly advises clients on all stages of collections, including pre-action letters, court proceedings, payment agreements, bankruptcies, IVAs and CVAs. Philip Roberts and Kathryn Quinton jointly lead the practice; Roberts is experienced in advising commercial clients and residential landlords, while Quinton oversees the firm's government and insurance contracts.

Family Tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP assists with cross-border divorce proceedings, handles private children disputes and is experienced in negotiating nuptial and cohabitation agreements. The firm also drafts financial settlements involving companies, partnerships, trusts and farm businesses. Practice head Gareth Schofield is additionally experienced in advising on unmarried family disputes. Daniel Eames advises high-net-worth individuals on international asset protection measures and financial disputes arising from marriage and cohabitation.

Personal injury: claimant Tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP advises adults and children on injury cases relating to brain, spinal cord, industrial diseases involving asbestosis and mesothelioma, as well as amputation injuries. The practice is also experienced in handling fatal accident claims, neurological injuries such as brachial plexus and multiple orthopaedic fractures. Practice head Lee Hart also assists with claims arising from accidents involving animals, while associate Melanie Brown is a specialist in child and adult psychiatric disorders.

Professional negligence Tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP primarily acts on the claimant side and assists with claims against accountants, tax advisors, land agents, banking surveyors, as well as architects, engineers and construction consultants. The firm handles claims against lawyers and accountants arising from negligent advice on tax avoidance schemes, and the failure to take tax consequences into account in corporate transactions. The practice also regularly advises uninsured defendants. The 'superbAlex Jakubowski  is practice co-head and regularly handles lender claims. He also acts for banks, peer-to-peer lenders and building societies.

Sport Tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP's national sports sector team excels in representing professional athletes - particularly football and rugby players - in employment-related matters. It also advises coaches and professional sports organisations, among other clients. The team's work often comprises cross-border elements, with strong links with clients in the US being particularly notable. Kevin Jones is the group head.

Agriculture and estates Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP’s agriculture and estate practice advises on the structuring of agri-businesses, lifetime tax planning, and the sale and purchase of agricultural land, as well as on the negotiation of tenancy agreements and contentious tenancy disputes. The firm also handles succession planning matters and acts for banks on secured lending transactions undertaken by agricultural borrowers. Senior partner Tim Hayden leads the team, which includes the 'meticulous' Rod Lloyd-Jones.

Clinical negligence: claimant Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP handles cases relating to orthopaedic claims, delays in diagnosis of cancer, as well as clinical negligence cases linked to birth injuries and brain diseases such as meningitis and encephalitis. The practice is also experienced in handling stillbirth and neonatal fatal claims. Another area of expertise is litigations arising from sperm destruction claims and loss of fertility.

Commercial litigation: The West Country Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP has a strong capability representing clients based in the South West in agricultural litigation. The firm also represents SMEs in a wide range of matters. Practice head Greg Saunders has a particular specialism in shareholder disputes and restrictive covenant injunctions, among other areas.

Commercial property: Bristol Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP features prominently in some of the largest residential development schemes in the South West, and it is also a powerhouse in commercial development projects, investment acquisitions and disposals, and property portfolio management. Also notable is that the firm is particularly strong in real estate matters with a nexus to the telecoms and renewables sectors. Clients include developers, investors, retailers, telecoms operators, and business occupiers, among others. Louise Brown heads up the group, which includes William JuckesLaurence LaceyGreg Lovett and Oliver SmedleyClare Day departed for Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Commercial property: The West Country Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP's commercial property team has a strong track record in the housebuilding, commercial development and investment sectors. It is also knowledgeable about all types of issues that arise from property portfolio management. Although Philip Brown handles a wide spectrum of work, his practice has a particular emphasis on residential and commercial development, where he mostly acts for developers, promoters and landowners. Tim Walker is also active in the development space. Roger Seaton’s real estate practice focuses on property finance.

Construction Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP's dedicated construction practice, which has a national footprint, places a particular emphasis on sectors such as waste management, waste-to-energy, transport and infrastructure. In Bristol, Anna-Liisa Blanks-Walden specialises in construction dispute resolution, and is particularly experienced in acting for registered providers and housing associations in the social housing sector. Recently promoted partner Natalie Read also focuses on dispute resolution. Non-contentious construction work is led by Zoe Stollard.

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP is experienced in handling proprietary estoppel claims, will disputes involving farm tenancies and partnerships, as well as disputes between trustees and beneficiaries amongst high-net-worth individuals and wealthy landed estate families. Senior associate Sarah O’Grady deals with a broad range of contentious trusts and probate matters, regularly defends proprietary estoppel claims and acts for executors and beneficiaries on estate claims.

Crime: general Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP prosecutes and defends criminal and regulatory matters including environmental, farming and hunting investigations and offences, health and security matters as well as motoring and speeding offences. Practice head Tim Hayden is also head of agriculture, a partner in the private client and commercial litigation team and a deputy traffic commissioner.

Employment: Bristol Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP has a strong reputation for advising on complex employment matters in the sports sector, and represents a number of local and national sporting bodies and teams. In addition, the team regularly acts for high-profile athletes and sports managers in employment matters, both in terms of ongoing disputes and transfers. The team also performs well in the agricultural, manufacturing and retail sectors. Kevin Jones is head of the firm's national employment team from the Bristol office, and is active in the aforementioned sports sector. Sharon Latham covers both the public and private sector, and comes highly recommended in the employment practice.

Employment: The West Country Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP advises business clients on restructurings and redundancies and trade union relations. In addition, it assists clients with all aspects of contentious cases; recent highlights included unfair dismissal claims, and cases involving discrimination allegations and whistleblowing. Taunton-based Kate Gardner is particularly knowledgeable about the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Immigration Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP's immigration team sits within the wider employment practice, and advises businesses on employee transfers and foreign migrant sponsorship. It also assists individuals with visa issues. Immigration disputes are another pillar of the practice. Team head Alex Jakubowski regularly advises Tier 1 entrepreneurs and investors. Tim Copplestone is another key figure, who assists clients with sponsor licensing, Right to Work issues and compliance. He also has specialist expertise in the sports sector, and has represented professional sports players and clubs in immigration matters.

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP provides non-contentious advice to clients facing the risk of insolvency, and also provides ongoing assistance with managing the formal insolvency process. The team's recent highlights included handling multiple complex claims against directors for allowing specific creditors to be targeted for non-payment, and for causing companies to enter into employee benefit trusts (EBTs). Clients include insolvency practitioners, official receivers, government bodies, creditors and debtors. The core seven-strong restructuring and insolvency team works closely with practitioners in the firm’s property, property litigation, corporate and employment departments. Martin Askew, who is ‘a good person to have on your side’, handles complex insolvency litigation and misfeasance-related claims. Ken MacLennan is ‘the standout lawyer for non-contentious insolvency work’, according to one client.

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Being especially active in the agriculture sector, Clarke Willmott LLP maintains a rural client base and focuses on real estate planning to individuals and entrepreneurs along with the resulting advisory wills, trusts and probate aspects. The firm also assists with the establishment and management of family trusts as well as in relation to the winding up of taxable estates.

Planning Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP acts for clients on mixed-use development schemes, residential-led developments and infrastructure projects. In addition, contentious work is on the increase at the firm, with ‘exceptional lawyer’ Chris Charlton having experience of judicial review challenges at the Planning Court, among other matters. The group’s wide-ranging client base includes established housebuilders, commercial developers, landowners and promoters. The ‘proactive and extremely competentNeil Baker, who heads up the department, has extensive experience of handling complex planning applications. Caroline Waller has ‘top-class’ knowledge of town and country planning and highways law.

Property litigation Tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP handles the gamut of property litigation work for clients in sectors such as property investment, social housing, retail, telecoms, and utilities. Taunton-based Nicola Seager has experience of a wide range of issues, including dilapidations, service charges, forfeiture and lease renewals, among others.

Social housing Tier 2

The ‘efficient and dependable’ social housing team at Clarke Willmott LLP acts for a growing number of registered providers and housing associations. Working with the firm’s other offices nationwide, the team in the South West provides full service support to regional and national clients. It has excellent credentials in all aspects of commercial property and development work, which includes land acquisitions and disposals, construction, development and housing management. A separate commercial property team assists clients with managing their property portfolios, while a property litigation group handles contentious work in connection with leasehold issues and development disputes. Elsewhere, a partner-led corporate team undertakes a wide range of transactions for social housing clients, and also provides advice on governance and regulatory issues. Kary Withers is the overall head of the practice, with other key figures including Oliver SmedleyHelen WittramAnna-Liisa Blanks-Walden and Kate Saunders.

Banking and finance Tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP stands out for its strengths in real estate finance transactions, including commercial portfolio financing and refinancing, investment acquisitions and development finance. Elsewhere, agriculture and healthcare are other sectors of focus. Roger Seaton leads the team, which acts for a wide range of lenders, including high-street and private banks.

Corporate and commercial: Bristol Tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP advises mid-market corporate clients on their serial acquisition strategies, and also handles venture capital and private equity-backed transactions for management teams and investors. Cross-border transactions are an area of growth of the practice, with the firm advising clients on the UK aspects. Simon Thomas, who heads up the corporate team, provides corporate M&A, private equity and AIM advice.

Environment Tier 3

On the non-contentious side, Clarke Willmott LLP has an excellent record in large infrastructure projects. It also demonstrates strong credentials in contentious matters, such as enforcement prosecutions and other actions undertaken by environmental regulatory authorities. Environmental claims are another key work stream. Bristol-based Neil Baker advises clients, such as developers and landowners, on the environmental aspects of planning applications for (and appeals into) major housing sites, commercial and mixed use developments, and urban regeneration projects. Tim Hayden in Taunton has expertise in waste management, contaminated land, air and water pollution and statutory nuisance. In December 2018, Karen Howe departed for DAC Beachcroft LLP.

IT and telecoms Tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP has an excellent reputation acting for landowners in disputes with telecoms operators; practice head Kary Withers has a first-rate reputation in this space. In addition, having played a significant role in the government's consultation on the new Electronics Communications Code (which came into force in 2017), the firm has handled litigation connected with the new legislation. Also notable is that the group works closely with the commercial practice to assist IT clients with contractual matters.

Energy Tier 4

Clarke Willmott LLP's energy and natural resources group assists both local and foreign clients with legal issues arising from infrastructure projects, high-value developments and the construction of power stations. The team also focuses on transactional work in the renewables sector. Practice head Priscilla Hall advises developers on energy technology. Laurence Lacey handles the property aspects of energy projects.

Clarke Willmott LLP is a law firm with a regional, sector-led approach across England and Wales. it invests time in developing relationships with clients and is known for its high level of service, straightforward manner and transparent fee solutions.

The firm: Recognising that clients prefer working with lawyers who understand the climate in which they operate and how their business actually works day-to-day, Clarke Willmott decided a number of years ago to adopt a sector-led approach.

The success of this strategy is evident by its reputation in a number of key industry areas. These include its 100-strong real estate and construction group, nationally renowned 40-strong social housing group, and specialist retail group. It also has leading teams advising on private client, commercial services, agriculture, renewable energy and sport.

Clarke Willmott works with an extensive client base of private sector businesses, sole traders, public sector bodies, high-net-worth individuals and charitable organisations, and they advise on almost every aspect of the law.

Clarke Willmott has seven regional offices and over 600 lawyers and support staff, including over 100 partners. The focus at Clarke Willmott is on steady, repeatable, year-on-year planned growth. It will continue to develop its teams in order to deliver services on a national basis.

Types of work undertaken: Clarke Willmott has expertise across a range of industry sectors and has market-leading teams in:

Agriculture: the agriculture and estates team provides a full complement of legal services (both contentious and non-contentious) to the agricultural and rural landowning communities nationally.

Banking and finance: advises clearing and private banks, building societies, specialist lenders and borrowers (both corporate and individual) on all aspects of lending transactions and related issues including recoveries, financial litigation and professional negligence claims.

Commercial services: advises all sizes of companies and other organisations, in particular high-growth and entrepreneurial businesses, on transactional and commercial work, contractual issues, employment services, restructuring and insolvency, litigation and debt collection.

Financial services: offers sector-focused expertise from a range of different practice areas, notably corporate and litigation. Clients include product providers, brokers, lenders and financial advisers, and businesses requiring authorisation for consumer credit activities.

Housebuilder: regarded as leading legal advisers to the residential development sector, acting for many of the UK’s largest volume housebuilders as well as for strategic land companies, smaller traditional builders and niche start-up ventures with particular expertise in all property aspects.

Intellectual property: acts for all types of businesses from new start-ups to household names in relation to the protection, enforcement and exploitation of their intellectual property rights.

Private client: particular experience in acting for professionals, high-net-worth individuals, family businesses and those with interests in the entertainment, sports and agricultural sectors. Provides advice on succession planning, trusts, tax, divorce and family law, wealth protection, property issues, litigation, and personal injury and clinical negligence.

Real estate and construction: one of the largest of its kind in the UK, with more than 100 lawyers specialising in all aspects of commercial property, construction and procurement, development (including complex landlord and tenant, acquisition and disposal issues), regeneration, planning, property litigation and estate management.

Energy and natural resources: advice spans all aspects of renewable energy work from inception of a project through to planning, acquisition, financing, construction, regulation, commissioning, grid connection and subsequent operation of plants and facilities.

Social housing: one of the largest of its kind in the UK delivering services across England and Wales. The team acts for over 100 clients comprising RPs, RSLs, ALMOs, local authorities, charities and care organisations.

Technology: services include drafting and negotiating large-scale ICT acquisitions, including appropriate service level agreements, ICT outsourcing, managed service provision, website design and development, Cloud service agreements, software as a service data protection issues and social media issues.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman Jonathan Morton
Chief executive Stephen Rosser
Managing Director - Commercial Simon Thomas
Managing Director - Core Litigation Philippa Hann
Managing Director - Private Client Anthony Fairweather
Managing Director - Property Services Graham McIntyre
Managing Director - Commercial Property Peter Swinburn
Photo Name Position Profile
 Martin Askew  photo Martin Askew
 Neil Baker  photo Neil Baker
 AnnaLiisa Blanks-Walden  photo AnnaLiisa Blanks-Walden
 Philip Brown  photo Philip Brown
 Louise Brown  photo Louise Brown
 Paul Chapman  photo Paul Chapman
 Chris Charlton  photo Chris Charlton
 Michael Craik  photo Michael Craik
 Simon Day  photo Simon Day
 Anthony Fairweather  photo Anthony Fairweather
 Kerry Fifield  photo Kerry Fifield
 Simon Freeman  photo Simon Freeman
 Jane Halton  photo Jane Halton
 Neil Ham  photo Neil Ham
 Philippa Hann  photo Philippa Hann
 Karen Howe  photo Karen Howe
 Alex Jakubowski  photo Alex Jakubowski
 Kevin Jones  photo Kevin Jones
 William Juckes  photo William Juckes
 Laurence Lacey  photo Laurence Lacey
 Sharon Latham  photo Sharon Latham
 Greg Lovett  photo Greg Lovett
 Ken MacLennan  photo Ken MacLennan
 Bonnie Martin  photo Bonnie Martin
 Graham McIntyre  photo Graham McIntyre
 Anne Minihane  photo Anne Minihane
 Richard Moore  photo Richard Moore
 Peter O’Brien  photo Peter O’Brien
 Martin Pettingell  photo Martin Pettingell
 Beverley Pike  photo Beverley Pike
 Rob Ridd  photo Rob Ridd
 Stephen Rosser  photo Stephen Rosser
 Gareth Schofield  photo Gareth Schofield
 Stephen Searle  photo Stephen Searle
 Oliver Smedley  photo Oliver Smedley
 Simon Smith  photo Simon Smith
 Elizabeth Smithers  photo Elizabeth Smithers
 Zoe Stollard  photo Zoe Stollard
 Chris Taylor  photo Chris Taylor
 Simon Thomas  photo Simon Thomas
 Philip Thompson  photo Philip Thompson
 Clare Titchener  photo Clare Titchener
 Stephen Trump  photo Stephen Trump
 Marguarita Tyne  photo Marguarita Tyne
 Kary Withers  photo Kary Withers
 Helen Wittram  photo Helen Wittram
 Esther Woolford  photo Esther Woolford
Number of UK partners : 100+
Number of other UK fee-earners : 340+
All main business languages
Society of Construction Law
Institute of Directors
Solicitors Regulation Authority
The Law Society of England & Wales